Winter Sonoran Desert Meander

Nature, Seasonal

Winter Call of Sonoran Desert

I now live in the Arizona highlands pinyon-juniper habitat of Sedona; but I am a Native of the Sonoran Desert. And in winter, I yearn for these sere desert landscapes.

Sonoran desert tall slender branced cacti with red butte in background. Illustrates the call of the desert in winter and nature connection

Sonoran Desert in winter.

Desert’s hard edge of the glaring summer sun and heat soften in winter.

Sparse gravelly ground is a pallet of dramatic long shadow etchings. I notice the sharp, clean smell of desert gravelly soil. I breathe in scent wafts from aromatic plants whose oils release in the winter moisture.

Paradoxically these prickly, spiky sere plant-scapes are dense with the life-filled presence of wintering birds. I hear throaty long calls of the cactus wren and soothing contented cuckling murmurs of the quail.  This takes me deeper into a reverie with the rhythm of the desert.

Gambel quail, male casting long shadow. Ilustrates nature connection, overwintering birds

How I love the Gambel quail (this one is a male), a familiar friend in the Sedona area too.

I slow down and focus on details of the surprising variety of plant life. Suddenly, the abundance of life in this harsh aridity comes into stark relief. I hone my appreciation.

Variety of tall and shorter cactus with yellow flowers illustrates nature connection, desert in winter

Desert garden in winter flowering by Sandra Cosentino

For a few timeless moments, there is no time. I am simply here now in communion with life expressed as Desert.

And emotions which had been percolating beneath the surface, find release here in the sharp edges of the winter desert.

An inner peace walks with me as I meander out of the garden.

Garden bench under leafless trees, long shadows of winter illustrates sense of respite of the desert in winter

Palo Verdes not yet in leaf make shapely shadow patterns in this tranquil desert setting by Sandra Cosentino.


The Desert Botanical Garden next to Papago Peaks in Phoenix is particularly enjoyable in the fall – spring season.  From here, it is 2 hours drive to Sedona to enjoy the open canyon vistas, nature walks and hikes.

Desert Meander article by Sandra Cosentino

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First published 2013, updated Jan. 14, 2017